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  • Writer's pictureInclusivity Insititute

The Rise of Sayo Ibsa: Championing Language and Equity at the Inclusivity Institute for Better Data

When Sayo Ibsa first joined the Inclusivity Institute for Better Data (IIBD) as a volunteer, little did she know that this decision would chart the course for a remarkable journey of growth, leadership, and impactful change. From a volunteer to a visionary leader within the organization, Sayo’s story is a testament to the transformative power of dedication and continuous learning.

Sayo’s initial encounter with the IIBD came at a time when she was seeking opportunities to make a difference in her community. With a keen interest in social justice and data equity, she was drawn to the IIBD’s commitment to addressing systemic inequities through data-driven solutions. Her volunteer role quickly evolved as she immersed herself in the institute's dynamic environment, where innovation and inclusivity were at the forefront of every project.

Recognizing her potential and passion, IIBD offered Sayo a full-time position, a turning point that marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter. She was soon co-leading the groundbreaking Intersectional Language Platform, an initiative designed to create a multilingual, multicultural resource for communication that transcends barriers of race, class, gender, ability, and locality. This platform not only aimed to standardize sensitive language use but also to empower communities by giving them the tools to express their experiences authentically and respectfully.

In her role, Sayo has been pivotal in steering the development of this platform, ensuring it remains a living document that evolves with changing societal norms and language use. Her leadership has been instrumental in fostering a collaborative spirit among her team, encouraging innovative ideas and solutions that align with IIBD’s mission of inclusivity and respect.

Furthermore, as a team lead for qualitative research and addressing the digital divide in the Spatial Equity Impact Initiative (SEII), Sayo has tackled some of the most pressing issues facing structurally excluded communities. Sayo’s commitment extends beyond her immediate responsibilities. She is also an active participant in the Leading Social Justice Initiative, where she works on networking and building the qualitative basis of SEII. Her work involves identifying and bridging gaps in digital access and literacy, which are crucial for ensuring equitable participation in today’s technology-driven world. Through her efforts, the SEII has made significant strides in mapping how spatial inequity affects health, education, and economic mobility.

Looking ahead, Sayo envisions a transformative year for IIBD. She is particularly excited about expanding the reach of the Intersectional Language Platform, incorporating more languages and cultural contexts to enhance its global applicability. Sayo also plans to deepen the institute's research capabilities, especially in terms of qualitative analyses that can provide deeper insights into the lived experiences of structurally excluded communities.

Additionally, she aims to strengthen the SEII's impact by integrating more advanced digital tools that can provide real-time data and more nuanced understanding of spatial inequities.

Imagine that just last year, Sayo was navigating a career outside the STEAM fields. Today, she stands as a leader at a non-profit tech organization, epitomizing the dynamic shift that dedication and vision can bring about. Throughout her tenure at IIBD, Sayo has harnessed the power of data to craft narratives that not only influence policy but also ignite community action. Her ascent from a volunteer to a pivotal leader underscores her profound influence on the institute and her steadfast commitment to its core values. 

Sayo's story transcends mere career advancement; it serves as a poignant testament to how personal dedication to a cause can catalyze significant transformations within both an organization and the wider community. Looking forward, Sayo is determined to continue expanding the horizons of what can be achieved with data, language, and inclusivity. Her vision is to cultivate an environment where everyone, regardless of background, has the opportunity to flourish.

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